'Code red for humanity’ – How can we move to a better future?

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that human activity is the driving force behind climate change, marking that the changes are unprecedented and sometimes irreversible.

The report “is a code red for humanity”, says the UN chief.

In fact, the IPCC report suggests that there is a 90% chance that human influence has been the main driver behind the global retreat of the glaciers and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice since 1990s. This means that the Arctic is likely to be practically ice-free in September at least once before 2050. No ice. Just water.

This would lead to the rising of sea levels around the world. And extreme sea level events that previously occurred once a century, would become an annual event at more than half of tidal gauge locations by the rapidly approaching year of 2100.

Furthermore, the global surface temperature between the years 2011-2020 was 1.09C higher than it was between the years 1850-1900, making the last five years the hottest on record since 1850.

This would lead to temperatures reaching 1.5C above 1850-1900s by the year 2040 under every emission scenario, which increases the chances of “fire weather” in numerous regions.

We are all aware of the problems at hand here. But what can we do to help out? How can we, as the general population, contribute to a healthier future for subsequent generations?

There is plenty that can be done to help, even small steps add up. For example:

  • Don’t waste food – Around 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted by the UK alone each year, and this contributes heavily to the amount of CO2 being created in landfills.
  • Purchase eco-friendly technology – It’s all well and good switching off all the plugs in your house before going on a 2 week holiday, but that doesn’t negate the amount of time you spend using them when you’re home. Investing in energy-efficient technology saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint.
  • Cut out plastic – Plastic seems to be all around us, no matter where we go or what we use, and it’s getting outrageously out of hand. What we can do is find replacements and alternatives, such as: reusable glass jars, paper bags, buying our fruit loose or using a reusable water bottle. Think: single-use plastics are never a positive choice.
  • Drive less – As opposed to driving everywhere known to man, whether that be the corner shop or the local football pitch, take a hike! Walk, ride a bike or take public transport to these nearby places. As the aggressive BMW driver reminded you this morning, driving isn’t particularly good for the environment. These alternatives can help dramatically reduce your CAR-bon footprint. Or, if you must drive, ensure you are conservative with your speed and your tyres are pumped up, so you aren’t producing more emissions than you need to.

For more information and advice, check out the IPCC’s report here: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/